Now, if I’ve had a penny for each time I’ve heard that sentence! I’d guess plenty of you have had your ears greased with it as well at one time or another…coming from your “better” half! Hah.. No pun intended!
“I wasn’t looking at her boobs/legs/bum…it’s all in your head!…”I’m not lying, that’s exactly where I was – it’s all in your head!”….”I didn’t do it…it’s all in your head!”…..”I never ate that pie….it’s ALL in your head…in fact there wasn’t a pie in the fridge if you ask me!” Well, you know what, truth is, sometimes it really IS all in the head….the lamb’s head in this case!
Running through Eastern Europe and the Med, you inevitably come face to “face” with a lamb’s head. Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania…we all love it! I remember my granddad chasing me round the table as a very young girl with a boiled eye (still the only thing I can not bring myself to eat!) and the anticipation of waiting for the scull to crack open so he can pry the sweet brains out for me. Made you squeamish? I’m sure I have, but if you haven’t tried a bit of brain you just haven’t lived, I’m telling you! It has the most unbelievable, silky smooth texture and it’s taste compares to none other. It ain’t a looker, that’s for sure and if you are a first timer I’d recommend deep frying it in breadcrumbs, just to hide what you are eating. As I said – it’s the taste that really matters, forget the looks.
When I was 8 my family hit a hard time for awhile and, because my aunt worked as a butcher, we practically lived on deep fried brains – that’s all she’d bring in the house. It was the cheapest sub-product money can buy and because it’s nutritional value is extremely high, you don’t need a lot to fill up the tummy. A loaf of hot, home made bread completed the meal nicely.
Back in the day Mad Cow disease wasn’t a concern and cow’s brains were widely available. It is a hell of a job sourcing one now, that’s for sure, be very careful who you buy it from if you do fancy trying. With lamb’s is different and much safer. Ask your butcher for a head and if he doesn’t chase you out of the door, £5 will buy you a meal and a half!
Moving down you have the cheeks – undoubtedly the best piece of meat you can get out of an animal (a lot of top restaurants offer the delicacy of cow’s cheeks at a crazy price these days) and of course – the tongue (that you do get in the supermarkets even here in the West, so stop looking away in such disgust!)
Boiling your own head is not a challenge – all it takes is a large pot, filled woth cold water, seasoned with a handful of sea salt, a pinch of freshly cracked black pepper and a bay leaf or two. Put the well washed head in and slowly bring to boil. When it starts bubbling, you need to be on a standby to skim the foam away for about 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium and cook for at least an hour. Remove from the water and dig in…literally. Great stuff, if you ask me! You can go one more for an even better taste – put the readily boiled head on a baking tray, season with some more salt, pepper and a bit of smoked paprika, and stick in a hot oven (200c/Gas 6) till nicely golden!
How’s that for an “UGLY” eat